It is true – there is nothing that really compares to a live event.
I have found this especially in business. The powerful connections and life changing experiences have all started with events. Getting to know others, being around likeminded people, having an understanding and similar purpose.
I hated events.
Because it has not always been like that for me. I hated events. I hated networking events even more.
Why? When we all know that building ‘know, like and trust’ is crucial to any business and by meeting people face to face can really speed up this process.
Well I am a proud introvert and small talk and mingling with strangers and having to stand up and talk in front of them all within a specific time frame quite frankly does not float my boat.
So I used to avoid them – send my team to them – tell them it was for their own good to enhance their professional development and all that good stuff – when really I was hiding behind the fact that I couldn’t think of anything worse than attending these business events where you had to sell yourself – I mean that stuff is made for extroverts and egos right?
I bet I can give you five reasons why you avoid networking?
1. Because you have to talk to strangers and make a good impression and introduce your business (and you still haven’t really got clear as clear can be on what it is you really do yet?)
2. Because it will mean taking time out of the day / evening that you could be spending working on the business (and let’s face it that’s the bit you love, that’s where the passion is at right?)
3. You end up sat on your own (which you quite like) and smiling sheepishly at all those other delegates that have got it together and schmoozing the room like they own the god damn place looking at you with sympathetic feel sorry for you eyes.
4. Why the hell would you pay for all of the above!
5. You walk away without any new connections (because you only spoke to Michelle who you met last time because she works behind the bar), a goody bag full of business cards (your own included) and no further on with the results you are aiming for in your business. No ROI (return on investment at all).
I understand I really do and don’t feel bad because we all feel like this at some point or another.
Find events that are YOUR kind of events.
The trick is to find events that are your kind of events with your kind of people and this may involve attending a lot of 'frogs' to find the 'prince' of events that will give you new connections, access to new networks, referrals and recommendation opportunities.
And that’s not because you spent the entire time selling yourself and being pushy – nope. It is because you felt comfortable in the space to be able to help and support others in their business. To give, not take. That is the most important thing to remember.
You can be an introvert and actually get the most from business events.
You don't have to be the loudest in the room to be heard and you definitely don't have to be all about the sales to be remembered for who you are. You have all you need already. Listen to others, really listen and find people you are really interested in. And ask them about their business. And don't dread the "what do you do?" questions - go with it - someone else you get to show how passionate you are about what you do and why you do it!
I love nothing more than making real connections.
Well it is funny how times have changed, from hating such events, to now hosting my own. I also invest a lot in attending other's events too - ones that I know will be full of my kind of people and they always pay off.
Mine are not ordinary traditional events, but the type that are perfect for introverts like you to make real connections. To get the most out of the investment you are putting into going in the first place – after all pjs and Netflix or a glass of vino with a good friend is also very appealing.
But networking (which in basic terms only really means interact with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts) is the cornerstone of business.
It is so important in so many ways. Not only for getting new customers and putting your business on the map, but also for your own support and developing relationships with people who get it and understand how tough it can be to work for yourself.
So if you are now a little convinced that actually venturing outside and attending an event or two might be something that you should think about to grow your business and your confidence then grab my free guide to get you started on the right path. It has 5 simple steps to prepare you for your networking fun, will build your confidence and give you purpose. Let me know how you get on!
Maybe my monthly event "Introverts Talk Biz" could be the perfect place to start - more info on the next event is here. Time to get yourself out there and give your business the chance it deserves!
**Gemma Stow works with female entrepreneurs who are introverts and are ready to take themselves and their business to the next level. To find their fierce and take that all important action. As well as private coaching, she runs monthly events where Introverts Talk Business and a membership called Club Fierce that gives that personal touch to women who are looking for support, accountability and an environment that breeds self belief and results. More info HERE. **